Author Topic: Forgiveness and repression  (Read 640 times)

Offline Ollie

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Forgiveness and repression
« on: November 20, 2016, 02:17:46 pm »
Hi guys,

So I was wondering what people's experiences are with forgiveness and metta for people who have seriously hurt them. What is the relationship between forgiveness and repression? Can you intend to forgive but accidentally repress? What characterises effective forgiveness, as opposed to covering over pain, pretending everything's fine or just trying to convince yourself that you've forgiven?

I want to forgive, and my own feeling is that forgiveness is more valuable with increasing insight into one's own pain, and with it greater acceptance for the responsibility of that pain. I think that real forgiveness is a firm commitment to the intention of metta for another and for oneself, even through wracking storms of emotional hurt.

A mistake that I think I have made often in the past, and only recently realised, is to intend to forgive, feel some slackening of anger towards the other person and think "Oh good, I think I've forgiven them, let's recall in detail everything they did that I've felt angry about and see whether it still makes me angry" And when (of course) it does still does, I would sort of think "oh darn, I guess I haven't forgiven them yet, back to the drawing board". I suppose forgiveness comes with the realisation that one doesn't need to hold onto or replay those stories anymore, yet my fear was that in failing to address them, old anger would remain unresolved, beneath the surface. I don't know how to forgive, and I'm afraid to try, because I worry that I'll just be burying old memories which contain so much rage and grief, and that they'll continue to hurt me if I don't resolve them. Maybe a good healthy dose of self-metta is an important ingredient in the forgiveness cake?

Anyway, apologies for the poorly structured post, I'd be very interested in any input :)
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 03:33:55 pm by Ollie »

Offline saggicool

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2016, 05:25:32 pm »
Well,  to forgive take a lot of couragememt..  Kudos to u for doing that...  It is not always easy to forgive.. But understanding law of nature..  We try to forgive..  With pure heart or forgive with some grieving heart...  One way is forgive n try less contact or avoid with the people that hurt u...  But still keeping the friendship..  Other is to see that all things is impermence.. It come n go..  We are also temporary in this world.. Say 70-80.yr... We believe in reborn..  Maybe we have did it to them in previous life.. We not sure...  Accepting this we will forgive with less grieven at heart...  Sometime they make us stronger n see that this world humanity is more cruel...  We just don't want to get hurt anymore.. More in indulge.. More we suffer...

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Offline francis

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2016, 05:48:54 am »
Hi Ollie, I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but there is the Metta Bhavana or Loving Kindness meditation. The purpose of the meditation is to generate metta and compassion, from the heart.

It includes self-metta and metta for an enemy, although it is generally recommended to start working your way up from a difficult person to an enemy.

There are five stages to the practice. We generate metta for ourselves, a good friend, a neutral person, an enemy (someone we have feelings of ill will towards) and for all beings.

It can be difficult to generate metta, but the following words helps.

“May all beings be well.
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be free of suffering.”

It comes from the Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Discourse on Loving-kindness Sn 1.8

There are many variations:

An outline of the Metta Bhavana.

Loving-Kindness Meditation

Ajahn Brahm Loving-Kindness Meditation.

"Enlightenment, for a wave in the ocean, is the moment the wave realises it is water." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Offline Ollie

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2016, 12:44:33 pm »
Thank you Francis :) I am very familiar with the metta bhavana, and I've practised it a lot in the past. I suppose it links into the question I was wondering about; do you think that the development of metta towards somebody who you bear ill will to is equivalent to forgiveness, and is there the potential for failing to address some burning issues in exclusively practicing the metta bhavana as a means to forgiveness?

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2016, 02:53:57 am »
I always try to thank those people, in my head of course, for reminding me why I'm on the path. Being grateful to them for helping me in this way is the first step to forgiving them, although I'm not sure that forgiving is the right thing to do. Letting go of the hurt and anger is probably the best thing for me, as I find that people don't want to be forgiven. It merely reinforces that they did something wrong.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Snowtops

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2016, 10:01:09 am »
I agree with the point made by stillpointdancer that forgiving may not be the right thing to do. Forgiveness seems to be very important in the Christian tradition, but I'm not sure how important it is to Buddhist practice. Letting go of anger may be a better way of thinking about it. Maybe we need to also let go of the concept of forgiveness?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 09:15:22 am »
Quote
Ollie:  "So I was wondering what people's experiences are with forgiveness and metta for people who have seriously hurt them. What is the relationship between forgiveness and repression? Can you intend to forgive but accidentally repress? What characterises effective forgiveness, as opposed to covering over pain, pretending everything's fine or just trying to convince yourself that you've forgiven?"


Hi, Ollie.  There is a story about an Arahant, who was mistaken for a thief by one of the men in the local village, who had been robbed by the thief.  When he saw the Arahant walking by his home during the Arahant's alms rounds,the villager became enraged and began to strike the Arahant about the head and shoulders scolding him for taking what did not belong to him. 

The Arahant ignored him, not returning any harm for the abuse being delivered.  The Arahant simply kept walking away, not even acknowledging that he had been struck by the angry villager in any way.

Seeing what the mistaken villager had done, a neighbor ran over to him and told him that he punished the wrong person, and that he had done himself great harm with his violence, because striking anyone, dealing out any form of violent punishment, especially upon an innocent Arahant would surely merit rebirth in one of the many hell realms.

Astonished, now realizing his mistake, in fear and regret, the villager sought out the Arahant and tearfully begged him for forgiveness. 

The Arahant looked at the villager , who was obviously sorry after realizing his error, and said:

"The man who struck me yesterday is no longer here.  Therefore, there is no need for forgiveness, as there is no longer anyone here to forgive."

That single, profound statement from The Arahant is the essence of Buddha's teaching regarding forgiveness.  All that Buddha ever asked of one who causes harm is that they stop causing harm.  No need to forgive for that person, who has stopped, is not the person, who caused harm.  We are reborn mind-moment to mind-moment, and all that is required if for us to stop causing harm. 

So, as The Arahant in the story pointed out there is no purpose in us holding grudges, no purpose is offering forgiveness.  All that we need to do is act with loving-kindness and compassion, because those that cease causing harm are acting beneficially, and those who continue to cause harm, need only our compassion, because they are in fact earning themselves time in the hell realms.

Aside from the story regarding the Arahant and the mistaken villager, there is another story called The Angulimalla Sutta, which illustrates this very important teaching of Buddha:

 Angulimala, A Murderer's Road to Sainthood
by Hellmuth Hecker    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html
« Last Edit: November 24, 2016, 09:24:44 am by Ron-the-Elder »
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-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Vajraheart

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Re: Forgiveness and repression
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2016, 10:18:57 pm »
Hi Ollie,
Thank you for starting this discussion. As this is an issue I struggle with also. I think that simply focusing on compassion is not enough we need understanding firmly grounded in the teachings of both compassion and also dependent arising, karma, and impermanence to really remove all thoughts of self and other as separately existing independent solid objects. Because as soon as we end meditation on opening heart of compassion if dualistic thinking is present then we still have object of self grasping at self and seeing others as a threat to self. So I think at these stages before enlightenment it is a process to continue to work with and develop mind that can go beyond these dualistic processes. I hope this helps.

As long as space remains as long as sentient beings remain may I to remain to dispelled the miseries of the world.


 


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